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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Wang Hao
"Hao to Escape from the Grave" (game of the day Sep-18-2021)
Tata Steel Group A (2011), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 1, Jan-15
Slav Defense: Czech Variation. Classical System (D18)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-15-11  Eyal: An amazing miss by MVL/save by Wang Hao. After 31…Qb5:

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32.Nd2 (or Ng1), with the threat of Rh3, should be winning easily – Black would have to give up the queen for a rook with 32…Qd3 or Nd3 to prevent that. Instead, after 32.Be7 – probably with the idea of Ng5 – 32…Nd3!! led to an unusual perpetual pattern, once the bishop wasn’t there to keep an eye on f4 (an alternative was 34.Kh1 instead of Kg3, but then after 34…Rc1+ 35.Ng1 Ne2, winning both knight and rook, White doesn’t have an advantage anymore).

Note that in case of 33.Rxd3 (instead of Rxb5), Black had yet another diabolical saving move – 33…g5!! (not 33…Qxd3 34.Ng5). The Ng5 idea could have worked, however, had MVL played <32.Bf6!> – another winning move – and then 32…Nd3 33.Rxd3 g5 doesn’t save Black, since White simply mates shortly after 34.Qxg5 (and 33…Qxd3 34.Ng5 is still winning).

Jan-15-11  shyamsg: <Eyal> If 33. Rxd3, I think that 33... f6 saves black. I don't see how 33 ... g5 saves black after 34. Nxg5
Jan-15-11  Eyal: <shyamsg> 33.[Rxd3] g5 opens the b1-h7 diagonal, so that after 34.Nxg5, 34...Qxd3 defends h7, preventing a lethal queen check on that square. On the other hand, after 33.Rxd3 f6 34.exf6 Black would be mated shortly (e.g., 34...Qxd3 35.fxg7 or Ng5).
Jan-15-11  4tmac: Unbelievabable! I like the minimalistic ♘back home but LC would no doubt prefer ♗-B6! (or is ...Nd3!! the best part?....)
Jan-15-11  Eyal: In his comments on the game (, MVL says that he considered 32...Nd3 33.Rxd3, but indeed missed 33...g5!! He also mentions that he could have played the rook lift to the 3rd rank already with 28.Rc3! because of 28...Bxc3 29.Bxe7 threatening Ng5.
Jan-15-11  4tmac: 28. ♖c3! would have been something. Even the draws were good today!
Jan-15-11  Eyal: Btw, in case of 28.Rc3! Rxc3 29.bxc3 Ba3, there's 30.Bf6! again; and after 32.Bf6! an attempt at counter-attack with 32...Rc1 33.Ng5 Qf1+ doesn't save Black, because after 34.Kg3 Qg1+ 35.Kf4! the white king is safe.
Jan-15-11  Ezzy: A 'Get out of jail free' card for Wang. Astonishing resource to save the game.
Jan-16-11  Eyal: ...It's also worth noting that a move earlier, an immediate 31.Be7! is winning as well - 31...Nxd3 32.Ng5 Nf4+ 33.Kg3 Nh5+ (of course, with the knight already on g5 the f3 square is free for the king, so there's no perpetual) 34.gxh5 Qxe7 35.hxg6 and Black must give up the queen for the knight to avoid mate. It required from Vachier-Lagrave some real ingenuity <not> to win this game...
Apr-10-11  kibitzwc:

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In this position black blundered with 31...Qb5?? (better was 31...Nc6). However, Vachier-Lagrave then missed an important win with 32.Nd2 (Protecting b3 and threatening Rh3) Qd3 33.Rxd3 Nxd3 34.Qg3 Ne1+ 35.Kf1 . Instead, white casually played 32.Be7 Nd3 33.Rxb5 Nf4+ 34.Kg3 Ne2+ 35.Kh3 Nf4+ 36.Kg3 Ne2+ 37.Kg2 Nf4+ and the game was drawn.

Nov-16-11  Six66timesGenius: I Guessd 29.♖c3-♗xc3 30.bxc3 follow by ♗f6 is Better for white. . .
Premium Chessgames Member
  Teyss: Great game, interesting comments, good pun. Or <Hao to Rise from the Grave>.

The missed opportunities make it even more worthwhile i.e. 28.Rc3! and especially 32.Bf6!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: Terrible pun.
Sep-18-21  Brenin: Excellent pun, though it's a pity that "grave" in French means "grave" in the sense of serious or severe, rather than a burial place. Shakespeare (who set a high standard for punning) neatly captured both meanings with Mercutio's "Ask for me tomorrow, and you will find me a grave man."
Sep-18-21  Saniyat24: how to stop laughing because of that pun?
Sep-18-21  siggemannen: A great escape! And pun!
Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: A swindle worthy of Marshall.

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